A Personal Note on the New Nokia

Ever since last Friday’s monumental announcement (do I have to say which one?) I have wrestled with Nokia’s new direction.  I admit to being skeptical of its success, and I’m very disappointed in what I see as a significant retreat from open source… but I’m going to try really hard to be objective.

I see a lot of very polarized reactions and people forming into two distinct Pro and Con camps.  This is understandable; Nokia’s new clothes signify a very different empire than the one to which many of us have grown accustomed.  Because we’re looking at so many unknowns, I have to lean toward the doubters on this one, and Nokia is going to have to work harder than it ever has to prove itself in my view.  Too many words from the past unmatched by action.  Not that the past need dictate the future, but after repeated bumps and potholes one begins to distrust the road.  The one Nokia has been on requires much more than simple patching, to be sure, but the jury will be out on the shotgun wedding to Microsoft for some time yet.

As an (unpaid and often gonzo) journalist I often walk a fine line here between opinion and strict reporting, but I will always make it clear which is which.  In the same vein, I will work at not letting my personal opinion get in the way of highlighting the positive aspects of Nokia’s new developments.  That won’t be easy though!  But I was recently reminded that being a Forum Nokia Champion means supporting the communities, whatever form they take.

I do think some of my peers have been far too eager to radically embrace Nokia’s abrupt shift, but then, I can understand it– especially from employees concerned about their future.  On that note, I left a post at forum.meego.com about showing understanding toward Nokia employees and I hope it’s heeded.  They certainly don’t need any grief right now.

So expect me to cover this subject some more, maybe at times in an aggravated tone but perhaps with some hopeful accents as well.  I don’t want Nokia to fail… far too much at stake that goes beyond the success of Stephen Elop.

Disclaimer: author is a current stockholder and customer as well as former employee of Nokia, and a longtime developer with Microsoft Visual Studio.

7 responses to “A Personal Note on the New Nokia

  1. If you are still a stockholder, then sell your stocks and invest it somewhere else.
    Okay, in case, a person agreed to the ultimate reliance of Nokia on Windows, and agreed to the abolishment of MeeGo (which is most likely, disruptive innovations whatsoever), no smart-minded person can ever agree to the fact that all OpenSource applications are excluded from future Nokia phones (i.e. the WindowsPhone market).
    Only a couple of billion dollars made Nokia management so unbelievable stupid! In a few years university professors will use Nokia’s failure as case study for worst practices. Therefore, from an academic standpoint everything is okay :-)

  2. Your speech seems pragmatic and reasonable. You speak about the people inside the boat there and whatever future brings, the team should be solid as a rock! I like the spirit!
    Though I could finish this comment on a beautiful note.. yet I am just a little ant in the community that just followed Nokia like many ’til now. My opinion is just that I’m getting kind of tired of Nokia’s decision!

    If a good meego device is released this year, that ‘s the best they could do. Regardless of how many differrent devices are released, we just need one But a good one!

    I’m just considering it looks like the last chance if Nokia really wants to be on the front of innovation. Meego is our hope… Does Nokia wanna share this hope? We are not sure, Elop just got people confused… by his “sneaky sabotage game” I would not tell how I appreciate Elop… let’s just say I wish he fails and that Nokia raises again!

    Imagining this Meego Device, like if it was the Messiah and the sword of Damocles for Nokia. The strenght they will put into Meego… is their only salute if Nokia wants to struggle fierce and to challenge the race with the biggest (google Mac … MS s just so bad)

    I wish Nokia the best future, based on Meego ‘s strategy!

  3. PS : I forgot to say that WP7 can not exist while Symbian is still there. Microsoft dreamt it, Elop served it on a silver plate!

  4. Good article, Texrat. Nokia has always had better engineers and designers than managers. After years of poor software development management, and the absolutely hopeless “services” strategy, I can see why the low-risk option for Nokia is to nurse its wounds for a while and go back to creating great hardware for someone else’s OS. And having made that decision, MS is a no-brainer, unfortunately.

    I am very disappointed, of course. I believe that an open-source platform would have major benefits for the industry (particularly to focus competition in the areas of most interest to users and developers and to avoid all the power moving eventually to Google and MS). Unfortunately Nokia has decided not to champion that any more and the two questions we need to focus on now are:

    1) How much can we salvage out of the wreckage (people, code, projects, ideas, related companies, etc)?

    2) Can we find another sponsor to step up (Intel, TI, one of the Far East manufacturers, Redhat, etc?) to provide some resources and, in particular, to make sure there are devices to run the platform?

  5. I did all my crying, but I think there’s a silver lining.

    Nokia WILL be profitable again, especially if they can get WP7 into sub $200 devices as Elop and MSFT claim. It will be good for Qt and MeeGo on a slight level. It will allow Nokia to save all that Symbian R&D cost, move some to Qt and hardware, and as long as they don’t mothball Qt, we should see a windowed version of MeeGo for tablets and a smartphone version for phones.

    Much like Linux distros for PCs, MeeGo could still be a user installed option. We could actually even see Tablets with dual OSes down the line.

    Another thing is WP7 won’t be getting a Qt port, but when Project Lighthouse finally getss finalized/to a usable state, we will have the ability to port it to WPx later via users installed packages.

    I’m not sure if WP7 allows sideloading apps/frameworks, but there could very easily be Qt apps running on our devices. And remember, Lighthouse will allow porting to MOST OSes, and we already see QNX, Android, and WebOS developers championing the toolkit.

    Now that I think of it, it may be NOKIA that is the Trojan horse. If they get Qt on QNX or Android, it WILL take off, and only help MeeGo, which will still be fostered for Nokia’s tablets. If Qt takes off, Nokia could always just make available official builds of MeeGo for its top devices running WP7 anyway, and wind up ditching WP7 down the line.

    The main thing is saving the Qt ecosystem more than Symbian, and maintaining an open source alternative for developers.

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